Last of the Summer Harvest

It’s chilly here on Widder Island.

Samhain is over and the Dead have returned to the Otherworlds.

The wee hobgoblins and ghouls who knocked on our door for treats are recovering from their indulgences and are nowhere to be found on the wild and windy streets of our neighbourhood.

The red and brown leaves from the Summertree are carpeting the yard, stark on the shaved lawn that received its last mow of the season the day before.

Remember the tomatoes I mentioned in my ‘Shed’ post?

They were actually part of an experimental planting loosely based on a ‘Maiden/Mother/Crone’ (or ‘three sisters) concept. We planted the tomatoes with corn and scarlet runner beans.

Rampant Abundance

A matter of timing, and smoke for their prime growing season, left the corn and beans coming in all puny … but the tomatoes did wonderfully.

Our back yard is bordered by the most magnificent line of cedar trees, but unfortunately it’s the south side of the block and the sun can’t budge the shadows from early October on. Our lovely greenery soon looked like this …

As the season turn, turn, turns

Although the plants were still bravely flowering and fruiting, we bit the bullet last weekend and did the deed. Rain was forecast and once the autumn rains really set in out ‘gardens’ turn to mud.

Setting up the patio for winter

For a summer that had very little else going for it, being able to snack on these tasty little nibblets made all the difference … halved tomatoes with cilantro, basil, and parsley, all from our garden. 

Don’t you just want to eat it all up!



My First, Last, and Only, Latest Star Wars Trailer


No great plot points revealed. Major characters seen in action. Misdirections that may or may not be accurate … in other words, the perfect trailer.

For the next 65 days this will sustain me. 🙂 


And because Star Wars will always miss their general …

Keeping an eye on us all

A Bee in the Washing Machine of Life

Today I’ve been reorganizing my bedroom. This is a direct result of having more storage in our shiny new shedIt is a prerequisite of such activities that sheets, blankets, and any other soft furnishings not nailed down, must be washed.

… including the covers from my hot water bottles

The only thing I am willing to admit I miss about summer is sun dried washing. Unfortunately, by this time of year our backyard is shrouded in tree-shade until about 3pm where the sun dips under the fir trees and has a moment of brilliance, until it swiftly sinks behind the hills on the far side of Widder Lake

As a counterpoint to the ‘bench-by-the-lake-in-summer’ picture I posted at the top of my last post, here’s the same bench, a few winter’s ago, all snug in the snow, with the ‘blocking-the-clothes-drying-sun’ hills in the background

With my arms overflowing with bedclothes and other sundries, I negotiated the narrow trail that was all that was left of the hallway after the stuff to be relocated to the shed had vacated my room but wasn’t quite out the back door yet.

I plonked the load down on top of the dryer, got the water running into the washing machine next to it, and measured out the soap to get the whole operation underway, when I saw a forlorn little critter clinging to the side of the drum, probably freaking out at the sudden crashing waterfall threatening to obliterate it.

A friend of mine back in Oz, on certain occasions when she was feeling down, would say she felt like a lost sock in the washing machine of life. Referring, of course, to the single sock that inevitably shows up when you take a load of washing out of the machine, and that you can never, ever again, find the other one.

I suspect the wee beastie felt somewhat the same way as I gently nudged her into the shallow plastic container reserved for removing spiders from study windows and shower recesses, and carried her out into the soft autumn sunshine, hoping the warmth might revive her.

‘Dear Hive Queen. All hail, O Mighty Honey Provider. I think I am in a different dimension.’

I watched as her little head sank lower and the pulse in her abdomen slowed and slowed, and slowed. Her wings were all folded in on themselves.

I wondered if she had flown her last mission.

There was nothing I could do. Her fate was beyond me.

I checked on her now and then over the next little while. She hadn’t moved.

I came out one last time before we closed the back door against the evening chill and …

… Bee-gone! 🙂

I wished her well and hoped she had many more adventures before the Great Washing Machine of Life finally claimed her for its own.

Did You Hear The One About The Two Lesbians Who Wanted To Build A Shed?

At the beginning of Summer, before the heat and the smoke and the ‘chitis, Mrs Widds and I decided we needed a little extra space for our treasures. We’re a pair of country gals at heart and have accumulated a country farmhouse, a large country farmhouse, worth of tools, equipment, stuff that we use seasonally, etc. This in itself isn’t a problem but we have a very little wooden shed and a very little two-bedroom cottage to store it all in. (the views here on Widder Lake are wonderful, but you can’t store stuff in a view)

A bench with a Widder Lake view

The solution to our dilemma was to get another shed.

Our local Lowes (hardware warehouse store) had sheds on sale, so we bought one.

It arrived like this …

Not quite what we had in mind

To be fair, we knew we’d have to put it up ourselves, but we were a couple of handy-dykes who had all the right tools for the job. How hard could it be?

The essentials – nuts, bolts, tea, a good book, a potplant …

After the tea was drunk, we got down to business.

Step 1 – study instruction manual carefully

That instruction manual was the most concise one I have ever read. I was shocked. Had to have a restorative cuppa tea to steady my nerves!

At last we were ready to take the shed pieces out of the box!

Mrs Widds knew which bit went where. I blinked, a lot

All good things start at the bottom …

If it’s all square from the beginning it’s square all the way up, theoretically

Then we huffed and puffed and figured out how to match the right panels, and connect the end-y bits to other end-y bits.

Corners!!! … If you look closely at the bottom right and left corners of this photo you’ll see several small tomato plants. This was the beginning of our summer veggie garden.

In a previous life I used to be an architectural drafter. The detail in the diagrams in the manual were the stuff dreams are made of.

The brass screws didn’t look half bad either


We walked inside and gazed in awe at how much space there was. We could almost imagine it full of … stuff.

All the walls!!!

And that’s as far as we got before the Summer of the Year of WTF-uckery set its teeth into us.

But let us not dwell on the past for it is forgotten. (and if it ever comes back I shall blow it to smithereens!!! … but I’m not holding a grudge)

No cranky feelings here!

Some months later …

The gable ends. Check out the tomatoes. Grown a bit haven’t they?

Roof beams

It got a tad warm attaching the roof sheeting in 34° heat

It got a tad warm attaching the roof sheeting in 34° heat

We have roof!!!

All that remained was to install the doors and to move the entire structure back a meter into it’s final resting place … which surprisingly, wasn’t as awkward as moving the unopened box of shed bits when we began.

There! Isn’t she a thing of beauty?

So, in response to the question I posed in the title of this post – we did it. 🙂


Summer is Done, and I am Done with Summer!

Oh my stars! It’s dusty in here!

Hi there … yeah I know, I haven’t been around for a while. Blame it on the Summer from Hades! … I am.

I am so thankful that today is the Autumn Equinox.

Seriously, this is what my year has been … 3 months of snow, 3 months of rain, 3 months of searing temperatures and no rain. Throw in assorted migraines, wildfire smoke, (which went away then came back, just to make sure we weren’t missing it) 9 months of continually battling with bronchitis, (not quite. I’m sure there were one or two days where I felt marginally OK) and I’m ready to see the back end of 2017!

I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to feel healthy.

2016 may’ve been the year of dead famous people, but 2017 is well on its way to be the Queen of WTF-uckery for this decade.


You ever notice the odd things you do when you’re under-the-weather?

Near the beginning of the year I treated myself to a box set of the Harry Potter books, and read them from cover to cover to cover, etc during my winter bout with the dastardly ‘chitis.

When the 30° temperatures and smoke turned up, ‘chitis used it as a perfect excuse to smack me around some more, and there I was, reaching for Harry Potter yet again, like comfort food.

I’m still in convalescent mode and I have good days, and not-so-good days where I give up trying and just stay in bed.

And here he is again, The Boy Who lived!

I’m on chapter 23 of The Half-Blood Prince, (book 6, of 7, for those who aren’t HP aficionados) so I suspect I’ll be my usual Widder-self in short order.


Another reason to celebrate the end of Summer is that Coco, the Community Cat has made a comeback. The very day the weather turned toward sanity, there she was a-knocking on the front door, announcing that it was cuddle season again.

Who are we to deny her cuddles?

(Coco the Community Cat is a lovely lass who lives across the way and visits (except in the heat of Summer) all the people in our lane who are bereft of feline company. She comes, she cuddles, (and sheds) and ambles off home when she’s all cuddled up 🙂 )

I Can See Clearly Now, The Smoke Has Gone

This is what we were living with for 11-ish days …

Just before sunset

My phone camera didn’t do the colours justice. The sun was blood-orange red, and the sky a sickly yellow.

Then the wind changed, the temperature dropped below 30°C, and two days later the sky looked like this …

Blue skies, shining above

Unfortunately the air didn’t clear in time for Mrs Widds and I to avoid getting sick, probably that dastardly ‘chitis in our broncs. We did manage to off-set our timing though. Mrs Widds is currently clawing her way out of it and I just collapsed into it. Thankfully we prepared lots of chicken soup.



When the rain stopped, everything grew.

When the rain stayed away, everything dried out.

When the rain didn’t come back, the wildfires started.


I am blessed on my island in the middle of a lake in the middle of a rainforest, but I feel the heat in my bones.

The nearest fire colours my twilight in shades of orange and smoke.


No-one has died, tens of thousands have left their homes not knowing if they will have homes to return to.

This is my summer.

Ashcroft burning

Photo by Darryl Dyck The Canadian Press

Ashcroft BC